I really, really like Unsplash. If you are not familiar with Unsplash, it is a website that allows photographers of any skill level to share their photos to be used by others with no strings attached. I did say any skill level, but they have standards and submissions are reviewed and really crappy or potentially offensive images are not accepted. The power of Unsplash is allowing others to use your photo anyway they see fit.
So why do I submit photos to Unsplash? I feel my photos are better than some, but nowhere near the best of the best, and Unsplash gives me an outlet to make photos available with a certain amount of feedback in the form of likes, views, and downloads. I do not expect financial compensation nor am I seeking to “be discovered.” I simply hope that my images can convey some of the meaning and emotion I felt when creating them.
I do realize that there are people who make a living selling their images and Unsplash can potentially be a threat to their business. I do think there is plenty of room for both, but it does raise the bar for those wanting to call themselves professional photographers. Professional photographers that can deliver a quality product, every time are needed daily in a variety of situations. The photos shared on Unsplash can provide a variety of businesses an easy way to have imagery in advertising or on their website without the additional cost of a photographer, but depending on the business the inconsistent quality will eventually become an issue. The other risk is that the Unsplash contributor deletes their photo essentially revoking the rights to use that photo.